It is with sadness that we share news of the death of NFDA Past President William (Bill) V. Hocker.
William “Bill” V. Hocker transitioned peacefully early Friday morning, October 19, 2018, at his home. Bill was born on July19th, 1933 in Burgin, Kentucky to Marie Schmaltz and V.W. Hocker. The family soon returned to New Mexico and Bill graduated from Grants High School in 1952. After serving overseas in the US Army, Bill married Kathleen Milan on the 27th of December 1956. He completed his Bachelor of Science and moved to attend the California College of Mortuary Science where he graduated at the top of his class. He returned to Grants and joined his Father Tony Frkovich at the Grants Mortuary that his parents founded in 1947.
Bill was raised in a devoutly Catholic home and his faith was a substantial influence in his life and work. Bill was a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, active in the early Catholic Cursillo Movement in the US, taught catechism at St Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, and was a founding member of the Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group at St Teresa’s, for almost 50 years. Bill was asked to lead the Disciples of Mission for the Parish. Bill’s commitment to helping grieving families was an extension of his faith, which he looked at as a vocational calling.
Bill’s Labor of love was the Grants Mortuary, which he owned and operated with his wife Kathy and their sons Bill Jr., Robert, Stephen, John and good friend, James “Jimmy” Martinez. In 1975, Bill’s brother Bob Hocker, and his wife, Shelia joined the Funeral Home and Bill was able to devote some of his efforts to state and national funeral organizations in order to educate both professionals and the general public about grief and end of life issues. Eventually, Bill was selected by his peers to serve in the New Mexico Funeral Service Association and later served as its President. Years later Bill was elected to National Funeral Directors Association or (NFDA) board of Governors and served as NFDA’s President from 1988-1989. During that time, he was a sought-after speaker and was a guest on various television talk shows such as Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael, Good Morning America and Geraldo. Finally, he served as President of the International Funeral Directors Association or “FIAT- IFTA” from 2010-2012. He authored two papers, “The Parental Loss of an Adult Child” and “Unsanctioned and Unrecognized Grief,” and numerous magazine articles.
In 1979, when Bill’s father-in-law, Salvador Milan passed away, Bill was asked to join the Board of The Grants Sate Bank. Later, he was served as Chairman of the Board until his Brother-in-law, Paul Milan, returned. In retirement, Bill led the Bible Study at his assisted living residence and along with his wife, Kathy, continued to organize memorial services for both the Parish and the assisted living community where they resided.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Tony and Marie Frkovich and His brother Robert “Bob” Hocker. Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years Kathy Milan Hocker, Five Children, Kathleen DeBlassie, William A. Hocker and his wife Leane Padilla Hocker, Robert Hocker and his Wife Susan, Stephen Hocker, and John Hocker, many grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
You may find the full obituary and leave a message of condolence here.